Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
Royal Netherlands
Institute for Sea Research

Hydrothermal vent fields

Protecting deep seabed hydrothermal vent fields through area-based management tools

The deep seabed is the common heritage of humankind, and is at risk by the imminent start of mining. Trans-disciplinary research within environmental science and international law will assess the role of area-based management tools (ABMTs) in protecting hydrothermal vent fields against mining impacts. We investigate ecological connectivity at vent field scale to determine the necessary dimensions of ABMTs, and how these outcomes are best integrated in the regulatory framework of the International Seabed Authority (ISA). The Netherlands government and others may use the research outcomes to ensure ISA regulation meets the highest possible environmental and biodiversity standards.


The strengthened and trans-disciplinary research and expertise generated by this project will be of value to the Netherlands government and other stakeholders on deep seabed mining

    Erik Molenaar, Sabine Gollner
The imminent start of mining poses risks to hydrothermal vents, including habitat removal, vent-fluid change, toxic mining plumes, and associated risks of biodiversity loss. Photo NIOZ

Connected themes

  • Sunstainable functioning of Coastal and Shelf Seas
  • Ocean of Discovery
  • Our Future Ocean 


Postdoc position, go to

NIOZ project page